Water preservation is an issue that is often pushed to the side in the fight against climate change. It is, however, of vital importance. Even before the consequences of climate change started to be felt, water management was problematic. Climate change is therefore not the only cause of the problems related to water, but it amplifies them significantly.
Water remains an underrated resource to which access is not equitable and that is polluted on a global level. This is why clean water preservation is so important to the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation. Effective water management is now crucial in order to adapt to climate change.
Torrential rain and flooding in New York, forest fires and drought throughout America, hurricane Ida (the second most destructive hurricane ever recorded in Louisiana) … The summer of 2021 has seen its fair share of alarming events caused by climate change and inadequate water management. The scientific community even estimates that the droughts experienced this year in Brazil are the worst in over a century.
Everywhere on the continent, these droughts are partiallycaused by deficient water management systems. Climate change is exposing the flaws and limitations of our water management systems, bringing up questions about water’s availability, quality, and safety. Inadequate water management systems then impact many economic sectors such as food, energy, and tourism.
Canada may have been slightly less affected than other countries by climate change and inadequate water management, but this won’t always be the case. The apparent abundance of water in Canada has resulted in most Canadians believing that their supply of freshwater is safe and will remain so.
What we witnessed this summer was just a taste of the effects we will experience in upcoming years.
“Climate change brings issues to light in terms of water management. These problems have existed for much longer than the consequences of climate change but are exacerbated by climate change. Today, we are paying the price. We need to act now.” – Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien
Without intervention or a reform of our water infrastructures, the impacts of these issues will be felt on a local, national, and international scale. Actions must rapidly be put into place. As explained by Coalition Eau, the fact is that: “Fresh water sources are vulnerable and will suffer greatly through climate change, with major repercussions on human societies and the ecosystem.”
There are two categories of measures that exist in order to limit the consequences of climate change: attenuation measures and adaptation measures. The first ones aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the second help populations and ecosystems to face the impacts of climate change.
Water management and preservation are present in both those categories. How? By limiting energy consumption in the water sector (attenuation) and by considering climate change in resource management (adaptation).
The risks related to water must be considered as important as the risks related to climate change. AquaAction and the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation’s teams are calling on Canada’s citizens and elected officials to ask them to recognize the vital importance of proper water management. Dominique Monchamp explains: “We talk a lot about a green economy, adaptation to climate change, and energy saving; and that’s great! The public budgets are going in this direction. However, the climate issue associated to water management is rarely at the forefront. At the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation, we believe that this is a mistake. Water management is a key element of the action plans targeting our adaptation to climate change and the funds attributed to it must reflect that.”